Edwardian Carved Jade Pendant Earrings

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Carved jade, diamond, and enamel pendant earrings.

Length: 2 3/4 inches

English, ca. 1920.

$52,000

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Tags: carved Edwardian enamel jade

Antique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits

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Finely and elaborately carved coconut mounted as a tankard with silver gilt mounts and gilded interior. Features the profiles of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Elizabeth

Russian, 19th Century
Height: 6-1/4 inches

$18,000

Antique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side bAntique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side cAntique Russian Carved Coconut Tankard with Imperial Portraits, side d

Victorian Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

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Victorian three stone ring set with an oval Ceylon alexandrite and two old European cut diamonds, set in a carved gold mount.

Alexandrite is a rare, color-changing form of chrysoberyl. Depending on the light source, the stone changes color, ranging from green to red. Discovered in the emerald mines of Russia’s Ural Mountains in 1830, the stone was named after the young Alexander II, as it was discovered on the future czar’s twelfth birthday. The stone’s colors coincidentally matched the colors of the Russian Imperial Guard, and so it became the national stone of Imperial Russia. Natural alexandrite is quite rare. Primarily found in Russia, deposits were also later found in Sri Lanka and Brazil.

English, ca. 1890.

$42,000

red color, Victorian Alexandrite and Diamond Ringside view, Victorian Alexandrite and Diamond Ringback view, Victorian Alexandrite and Diamond Ringmount detail, Victorian Alexandrite and Diamond Ring

Vintage 1960s Gucci Gold and Coral Chain Necklace

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18k gold chain necklace set with carved red coral panels.

Gucci, ca. 1960.
Length: 32 1/ 2 in.

$8,200

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

other view, 1960s Gold and Coral Chain Necklace by Guccidetail view, 1960s Gold and Coral Chain Necklace by Gucci

Vintage 1950s Boivin Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet

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Large cabochon and carved amethyst necklace and bracelet, with interspersed chrysoprase beads, in 18k gold.

Designed by Juliette Moutard for René Boivin, Paris, ca. 1950.
Necklace: 32 in.
Bracelet: 7 1/4 in.

René Boivin opened his Parisian jewelry house in the 1890s. After his death in 1917, his widow, Jeanne Poiret, the sister of couturier Paul Poiret, took over the firm. In 1931 she hired Juliette Moutard, and the two women had a close working relationship, creating many beautiful pieces together.

necklace view, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivinbracelet, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivinadditional bracelet view, 1950s Amethyst Necklace and Bracelet by Boivin

Fabergé Travelling Stamp Moistener

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Gold-mounted and carved bowenite travelling stamp moistener with vari-colored gold swags, garlands, and rubies. The lid screws into the base for security.

Fabergé, workmaster M. Perchin.
St. Petersburg, Russia, ca. 1895.
Height: 2 1/2 inches
Provenance: Lansdell K. Christie, New York, an American businessman and art collector.

Georgian Era Porcelain Fob Seal Pendant

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Gold-mounted pendant seal featuring porcelain love birds in an arbor, with carved carnelian seal stone.

Chelsea Porcelain Factory, English, 18th century.
Height: 1 1/8 inches

$1,200

This item is available for purchase in the ALVR shop.

Antique Dreicer and Co. Ladies’ Watch

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Platinum and diamond ladies’ watch set with carved multi-colored gemstones.

Dreicer and Co., New York, ca. 1908.
Length: 7 1/2 inches

$32,000

other view, Antique Diamond and Multi-gem Watch

Moonstone Intaglio Bracelet of Senator William Benton and Children

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18k gold bracelet with moonstone intaglios depicting Connecticut Senator William Benton and his four children. Benton was an avid art collector and ALVR client. Read more about him and this bracelet here.

Designed by Izabel Coles, moonstones carved by Beth Benton Sutherland
18k gold mount most likely by Herman Koechendoeffer
American, ca. 1940
Length: 7 inches

open, Gold and Moonstone Intaglio Bracelet

ALVR Blog: The Benton Bracelet

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closed, Gold and Moonstone Intaglio Bracelet

18k gold and moonstone bracelet.
Designed by Izabel Coles & carved by Beth Benton Sutherland
18k gold mount most likely by Herman Koechendoeffer
American, ca. 1940

History comes full circle with this personalized piece of Americana: a bracelet commissioned by Connecticut Senator William Benton (1900-1973). Benton was an avid art collector and ALVR client.

This 18k gold and moonstone bracelet speaks to Benton’s artistic appreciation. A gift to his wife, the five moonstones feature carved intaglios of Benton and his four children (Charles, John, Helen, and Louise). That these moonstones are so exquisitely carved demonstrates remarkable craftsmanship. Moonstones are as popular today as they were then and are typically cut en cabochon.

Also of note: by calling this “the Benton bracelet,” we refer to both patron and artist. The intaglios were carved by Benton’s cousin, esteemed gem carver Beth Benton Sutherland. She specialized in intaglios carved in moonstone and had a reputation as the best portrait carver. She was particularly known for her skill in capturing the countenances of children and her carved portraits were highly coveted. She began collaborating with designer Izabel Coles in the late 1920s, a partnership that lasted into the 1960s. Their work was exhibited in many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which still has one piece on exhibit: a carved moonstone of philanthropist Edward S. Harkness, made as a gift to his wife in 1929.

While Benton Sutherland made lasting impressions quite literally through her art, Senator Benton also left his mark on the world.  During his term he was among the first to speak out against Senator McCarthy, which ultimately led to McCarthy’s censure in 1954. Outside of politics, the bibliophile, media guru, and art collector had an industrious career in both advertising and publishing, shaping media as we know it.  He introduced sound effects and other innovations to radio programming, and Encyclopedia Britannica achieved unprecedented success under his direction.

A longtime benefactor of the University of Connecticut, the school renamed its art museum in Benton’s honor in 1972.

History comes full circle with Benton’s intaglio bracelet, sealing the memory of a noted patron and collector at ALVR.

Gold and Lapis Dress Set

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14k gold and carved lapis double cufflinks with four matching studs in the form of buttons.

American, contemporary.

$7,200

Gold and Lapis Dress Set, cufflink view

A Cameo in Time

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Roman Revival Cameo Earrings

These cameo earrings in the Roman Revival style are of hardstone, an indicator of their quality. Gold filigree and granulation border the ladies in profile, further emphasizing cameos as miniature works of art.

The small, low relief sculptures we recognize as cameos date to antiquity, used in Classical Greece and Rome to depict portraits and mythological scenes. There were many cameo revivals over the ages, particularly in the Renaissance and eighteenth-century. In the nineteenth-century, cameos became widely coveted for use in personal adornment.

Napoleon and his first wife Josephine are credited with setting the fashion for nineteenth-century cameo jewelry. Many cameos were brought back to France after the 1786 Italian campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. Many of these were of Greek or Roman origin. Napoleon soon turned to the medium for cultivating his persona as the new Emperor Augustus, having cameo portraits made of himself in a laureate profile. Josephine also adorned herself in cameo jewelry, most notably a cameo and pearl tiara by Chaumet. The trend became increasingly popular, as the following from the Journal des Dames attests:

“a lady of fashion wears cameos on her belt, cameos in her necklace, a cameo on each of her bracelets, a cameo in her diadem.”

In the Victorian era, cameos became especially revered as travel souvenirs and wearable sculptures. Many cameo jewelry designs were inspired from sculpture, a highly regarded art form in the Victorian period for use as architectural accents.

Cameos were traditionally made from hardstone. Commonly varieties of agate, such as onyx, sardonyx, and jasper, enabled a cameo carver to create an image in more than one color because of their multiple layers. Cameos were also carved from shell, a light weight material conducive to jewelry making. Such easy manufacture made cameos more accessible to the growing middle class, therefore increasing their popularity.

Beautiful and timeless, cameos are a window to the past and a fitting accessory for the present!

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